It’s been less than thirty minutes since Chris told us the news and my phone hasn’t stopped ringing; a mix of private or unrecognised numbers and acquaintances I haven’t spoken to in years. I try to seek refuge in the bathroom but the incessant vibrating of my phone reverberates off the marble tiles, right through to the core of my stomach, as I struggle to contour and apply my makeup in between the tears. Unable to concentrate I make a grab for my phone to put it on silent when an unexpected reprieve illuminates the screen.
“Hey.”
“Cassy are you okay Baby?” He says with a welcome concern I haven’t heard in years.
“Yes I’m fine Daddy.” I say before I’m rudely interrupted.
“What the hell is going on in that house?”
“No one really kn…”
“I always knew that Rick was trouble. How many times did I…”
“Are you seriously doing this right now?”
“I’m sorry Cassy but you didn’t listen to me then but you need to listen to me now. I predicted this whole sordid trajectory…”
“Oh so now you’re telling me you predicted Rickie was a killer?”
“I said it to your mother the first night we met him. You thought I was being ridiculous then but knowing what we know now I think it’s safe to say I was right.
“Why would he try to kill Sebastian Daddy it just doesn’t make sense?”
“To lay down a marker, he could obviously sense we didn’t approve.
“I honestly don’t think he saw him.”
“Bullshit! A room full of seats and he just so happens to throw himself down on the one Sebastian’s sleeping on. Maybe if you had to foot the dog’s therapy bills you’d be a little more understanding. Poor thing’s had night terrors ever since.
“It doesn’t make any sense, Rickie had two dogs of his own growing up.”
“But killing that poor boy did? Listen to yourself trying to rationalise the mind of a maniac.”
“Jorge and I kissed Daddy.”
“I always knew that sonofabitch had a temper. People make mistakes every minute – doesn’t mean they should die for them. Don’t you dare put him up on a pedestal now sweetie.”
Right then Chris abruptly knocks on the door.
“Cassidy we need to get going.” Chris says.
“Just a second Chris. Daddy I’ve got to go.” I say and hang up.
The press conference takes place in the Albert ballroom of the SLS Beverly Hills, and even though the room setting is formal the lighting and fixtures belie the hotel’s cocktail party opulence. Chris takes the lead throughout for legal reasons while I try to take in all the Hollywood reporters and gossip mongers counting at least three TMZ reporters, the main anchor from Access Hollywood, the cute girl Jesse Eisinberg made cry and my personal favorite Perez, who is forlorn and much more rugged than I expected. The meeting begins with a five-minute legal monologue from MTV’s legal attorney about what we can and can’t answer and invariably results in Chris and I being asked only the questions we can’t answer, each reporter taking turns to rephrase the preceding question with a new nuance or twist.
Having leaked the body of the story before the press conference even began the Q&A is curated by Chris with a military precision, with MTV and the show centre stage throughout and any non-show related detours such as questions about gun control or Jorge’s family’s emotional state given the absolute bare minimum response ensuring no salacious copy or unnecessary column inches.
“Cassidy had Eric ever been outwardly aggressive to you in the past?” A fierce momtreprenuer type queries standing in a middle row to assert herself.
“No. I mean we had our arguments like every couple but Rickie was never violent towards me.”
And the words have barely left my mouth before Chris is telling the audience that verbal abuse is just as dangerous which creates an unstoppable tsunami of emotionally counterfeit outpouring, as I watch myself rise through the fairy tale ranks of kitchen porter to become the Queen of this victim narrative which has invariably spun and weaved itself.
After the press conference my head is still spinning from all the allegations, insinuations and lies when Chris approaches with champagne, which I viciously down in one hard gulp, completely bypassing my tongue.
“You did great.” Chris says gently brushing my shoulder.
“What the fuck is this shit about these skanks and some sex tape – did you know about this?”
“First I’ve heard of it.” Chris says with raised palms.
What a difference a day makes; Rickie now a sexual deviant with the cold-blooded instincts of a contract killer. The murder itself is almost a compliment – a crime of passion but the thoughts of him cheating on ME I can’t begin to fathom. I try to look back and think of certain flashpoints I may have missed but nothing springs to mind as Rickie was never the jealous type, despite my best efforts, and even took the side of some jerk who slapped my ass in the club insisting it was a “compliment”. In fact the only time I can really ever recall Rickie being emotional throughout our entire relationship was when he invariably lost money on a basketball game, which never escalated beyond a childish sulk. If anything Rickie’s problem wasn’t controlling his emotions but expressing them at all in the first place, like the time I had to threaten to break up with him to discover how he really felt about me and even then he couldn’t bring himself to say the word “love” as his eyes hovered up the floor for an answer. Ultimately having to settle for “you know I do.” when pressed if he loved me, the words like his eyes totally dissociated from the act; like a shell shocked soldier carrying out his general’s orders on auto-pilot. But for all his verbal shortcomings Rickie was surprisingly affectionate, showing how he felt through random acts of consideration that seem stupid when you try to tell other people but make all the difference; like Tivoing my favourite shows when he knows I’m running late, going out to fetch Ben and Jerry’s cause he knows I’m hungover or simply holding me in his arms in total silence because he knows, usually before I do, that I’m anxious.

Previous Chapter.

From the beginning.

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